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[whitespace] A Magical Night

David Copperfield wows Flint Center audience

Cupertino--De Anza College's annual "Night of Magic" lived up to its name this year, as the fundraising event culminated with a performance by legendary magician David Copperfield at the Flint Center.

The annual event raises money for two programs at the college. This year the funds will go to the environmental program and the infant center on campus. The college sold all the tickets for the party, where over 450 people attended. So far, the college estimates they raised between $70,000 and $75,000.

The event consisted of a silent auction where guests could bid on a variety of delights, such as a day of whale watching, a native plant basket from the environmental program and a trip to San Francisco for New Year's.

De Anza president, Martha Kanter, said the event not only raises money for the college, but also makes for a great party, since "all the guests are VIP's in their own right." Attendees came from a variety of backgrounds: business leaders, members of the Cupertino community, De Anza faculty, and students--all dressed to the nines--who came out to support the college.

After the bidding finished at the auction and the winners paid for their items, guests walked from the Campus Center to the Flint Center, where David Copperfield prepared to give his second show of the evening. Copperfield put on a wonderful show, amazing audience members with grand illusions, as well as his skillful sleight of hand. After levitating couches and performing card tricks involving the entire audience, Copperfield transported an audience member to Bali, along with a large postcard with writings from the audience and some personal items.

For his encore, Copperfield sent several beach balls out into the audience, with musical accompaniment. Once the music stopped, the audience members left holding the balls went onstage and sat on a large platform that rose into the air. Copperfield gave the audience members flashlights, covered the platform with sheets, and when the sheets dropped away nothing but empty chairs were revealed. Copperfield then directed the audience's attention to the rear of the hall, where the crew of volunteers stood shining their flashlights out onto the crowd.

Unfortunately, curious friends and family of the disappeared quickly found that, not only had Copperfield made them vanish, but the master had also made them swear to keep his methods a secret.

The two programs receiving funds from the event both want to undertake large projects, and will benefit from the guests' generosity.

The infant center plans to break ground on a new facility this winter that will nearly double the program's capacity and expand its operations to include children in a wider range of ages. The center currently provides child care for 100 student families who cannot afford to pay for day care while attending college. The new building will allow the center to care for an additional 80 infants and toddlers, bringing the total number of children in the program to around 200.

The center also serves as a laboratory for students enrolled in the college's child development center, and offers supervised activities classes in order to help parents make the most of the time they share with their children. Some 1,500 students go through the program each year, with the opportunity to earn one of four certificates in child care disciplines.

The environmental program also has a building in the works. The money they gain from the "Night of Magic" will be used on the construction of a new, environmentally friendly building next to the existing 1.5-acre native plant preserve on De Anza's campus. The building will not only house students from the environmental program, but also will function as an all-purpose building for classes of any discipline that wish to hold sessions near the natural setting of the plant preserve.

The design of the building stands out as its most remarkable feature: designers made every effort to ensure that the building will have the least negative environmental impact possible. The building will produce about half of all its energy needs from a fuel cell generator and photovoltaic cells on its roof, and will use passive solar means to heat the building in the winter. Special devices will also direct more natural sunlight into the building, as tests have shown that students perform better if they study in environments that have more natural lighting.

Builders will also use materials that come from more sustainable sources, such as recycled steel girders and concrete made from fly ash, rather than cement. Even the special carpeting will be environmentally friendly, as it does not have the toxic glues traditionally used in carpet manufacture.

Julie Phillips, director of the environmental program, says, "resource conservation is very important to us. That's why all the materials that go into the building will be looked at in terms of sustainability and environmental impact."

She says that, since it can produce its own energy, the building would make a great emergency response center.
Kevin Fayle

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Web extra to the December 21-27, 2000 issue of Metro.

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